Wildcats prove to be ‘superior’ over spring

gordon.beedle

The NMU volleyball team ended its successful spring season on Saturday with more victories, coming this time in NMU’s Vandament Arena against Lake Superior State.

The Wildcats were dominant in all five games, with scores of 25-12, 25-16, 25-15, 25-13 and 15-13.

The win gave the ‘Cats a 10-3 record. The spring results, head coach Dominic Yoder said, are something his team can be proud of.

The ‘Cats’ only losses came at the hands of Division-I teams Michigan, Notre Dame and Purdue.

“In the spring, [the team] really polished our system of play. They became more comfortable with it,” Yoder said. “The players are saying ‘I got it. I got the system down. Now I just need to increase my success rate.’ I think that is a good thing to hear, and I think the spring was a good motivator for that product.”

Yoder added that his team proved to be back at the top of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference by not losing any of the spring competitions against Division-II schools.

“Being able to play against Division-II and play at a high level against them — I think is important to us,” he said. “Basically, our philosophy on our team is, every time we step between those lines, we’re going to compete, regardless if it is a national championship or it’s a spring competition against a Division-III (team).”

This spring season was a longer one for the Wildcats than in past years, but Yoder said it is the level of competition he likes his team to have.

“For me, it’s average. For the tradition here at Northern, it’s probably not average. But it’s something that I always want to make a norm here, that we are always going to compete at the highest level,” he said. “We’re not really going to have an offseason when it comes to competition.”

In the upcoming fall season, 10 new recruits will join the team, and hopefully help to get the Wildcats back to the national tournament.

“They are going to be a fun group of players,” Yoder said. “They are going to help us be successful next year and in the future.”

One of the challenges for the 2008 team, he added, is to get the new players accustomed to the style of volleyball NMU plays, and have them become part of the team on and off the court.

“I think for the new players coming, our current players are going to have to teach them the system. I think that is an important aspect–to absorb them into the team family,” Yoder said. “Get the younger players to play at the higher level. And make them play more consistent in a college game.”

With the summer offseason approaching, the volleyball team has no summer practices, but Yoder believes the majority of his athletes will keep up with the training on their own.

The training system Yoder implemented at NMU promotes a healthy lifestyle and he said the volleyball team will always be athletes, in season or out.

“I think they are athletes and I think they bought into the system,” he said. “So will they or won’t they (train)? That is up to them-but I think they are athletes.”